School Closing Date in Karnataka: Karnataka will only close schools when the positivity rate exceeds 5%

BENGALURU / TUMAKURU: BC Nagesh, Minister of Elementary and Secondary Education, announced Tuesday that schools in the districts will remain open and will only close if the Covid-19 test positive rate exceeds 5%.

He said closings will be Taluk-specific rather than a blanket decision across the county or state as it was during the first and second waves of the pandemic. The issue was discussed during a virtual meeting convened by Prime Minister Basavaraj Bommai to review the pandemic situation.

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“A decision was made to empower the DCs to rule on school closings based on reports of active cases from block education officers and Taluk health officials,” Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra said. It was also decided to reserve beds in hospital wards and intensive care units for treating Covid-positive children and to have general health checkups in schools every 14 days.

Nagesh told reporters that the prevailing situation did not warrant the closure of schools as the government had handled the situation with the utmost seriousness and on an hourly basis. However, should cases increase, the deputy commissioners have been instructed to answer calls in their respective districts, depending on the situation.

“We told them to view taluks as a unit and not the entire district,” said the minister. “This means that only schools in the Taluks that report a positivity rate of more than 5% will be closed, and not schools in the entire district.”

He said infections in school children are “negligible”. As on Sunday, up to 163 PU students and 640 students from schools tested positive. 360 of them have recovered. Around 80 teachers also tested positive and 12 have recovered. “So parents don’t have to worry,” said Minister Nagesh.

Nagesh said the positivity rate was between 0-1% for 134 taluks and 0% for a dozen taluks. “The positivity rate in Bengaluru may be high, but it is not the same in all 10 taluks in Tumakuru district or other parts of the state,” he said. Annual exams Given expert predictions that the third wave will peak in mid-February and end in the last week of February, the minister said the chances of having annual exams in schools and colleges are high in late March and April.

The minister said schools and colleges have been asked to prepare to conduct regular exams on campus this year, according to the schedule.

Last year, in addition to the PUC II exams, the government also canceled the primary and secondary school exams as the second wave peaked in April and May. Grade 12 students were promoted based on results in the I PUC exams, while elementary and high schools conducted exams online. However, the government held exams on campus for SSLC students.

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